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Supreme Court Of India
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                   Writ Petition (Civil) No. 888/1996

Petitioner (s)


    U O I & ORS                                                                                                                                  Respondent (s)

(With Appln(s). for interim and intervention and directions and with office report)

SLP ( C ) No. 22111/2003

(With prayer for interim relief and office report)

Date :04/10/2004 These Petitions were called on for hearing today.






Pursuant to our order dated 26th July, 2004 some of the states and Union Territories as also the Central Government have filed affidavits. Those States/Uts who have not filed the affidavits are directed to file the same’ in compliance of the order dated 26th July, 2004, within four weeks.

The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules have been enforced for the last about four years, but lot deserves to be done in implementation of those Rules. In the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Urban Development, it is inter alia, stated in para 8.3 (page 4119 of Vol-12) that MOEF has written to all State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) requesting them to formulate time bound action plan for management of Municipal solid waste in respect of metro cities and State capitals and has also addressed that issue in the 50th conference of Member Secretaries and Chairman of all SPCBs /PCC (Pollution Control Committees) held in March’ 2004 at Delhi. It is necessary and appropriate to make a beginning that an action plan for management of MSW in respect of metro cities and States capitals is prepared by Ministry of Urban Development in consultation with all concerned, including, Ministry of Environment and Forest and the Central Pollution Control Board so that the implementation, based on the said plan, can commence without any further delay in the State capitals and metro cities to be followed by other cities. We direct the Central Government to examine the matter at the earliest, since considerable time has already elapsed since the matter was addressed in the Conference of March, 2004. The proposed action plan shall be filed in Court within six weeks.

The petitioner has handed over a note in Court showing the progress that has been made in some of the States and also setting out some of the suggestions, including the suggestion for creation of Solid Waste Management Cell, so as to put a focus on the issue and also to provide incentives to those who perform well as was tried in some of the States. The said note states as under:

  1. As a result of the Hon. Supreme Court’s orders on 26.7.04, in Maharashtra the number of authorizations granted for Solid Waste Management (SWM) has increased from 32% to 98%, in Gujarat from 58% to 92% and in MP from NIL to 34%. No affidavits at all have been received from the 24 other States/Uts for which CPCB reported NIL or less than 3% authorizations in February 2004. All these States and their SPCBs can study and learn from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat’s successes.
  2. All States/Uts and their SPCB/PCCs have totally ignored the improvement of existing open dumps, due by 31.12.2001, let along identifying and monitoring the existing sites. Simple steps can be taken immediately at almost no cost by every single ULB to prevent monsoon water percolation through the heaps, which produced highly polluting black runoff (leachate). Waste heaps can be made convex to eliminate standing water, upslope diversion drains can prevent water inflow, down-slope diversion drains can capture leachate for recirculation onto the heaps, and disused heaps can be given soil cover for vegetative healing.
  3. Lack of funds is no excuse for inaction. Smaller towns in every State should go and learn from Suryapet in AP (pop.103,000) and Namakkal in TN (pop 53,000) which have both seen dustbin-free “Zero Garbage Towns” complying with MSW Rules since 2003 with no financial input from States or Centre, just good management and sense of commitment…
  4. States seen to use the Rules as an excuse to milk funds from the Centre, by making that a precondition for action and inflating waste-processing costs 2-3 –fold. The Supreme Court Committee recommended 1/3 contribution each from the city, State and Centre. Before seeking 70-80% Centre’s contribution, every State should first ensure that each city first spends its own share to immediately make its wastes non-polluting by simple sanitizing /stabilizing, which is always the first step in composting viz. inoculate the waste with cow dung solution or biocultures and placing it in wind-rows (long heaps) which are turned at least once or twice over a period of 45 to 60 days.
  5. Unless each States creates a focused “Solid Waste Management Cell” and rewards its cities for good performance, both of which Maharashtra has done, compliance with MSW Rules seems to be an illusion.
  6. The admitted position is that the MSW Rules have not been complied with even after four years. None of the functionaries have bothered or discharged their duties to ensure compliance. Even existing dumps have not been improved. Thus deeper thought and urgent and immediate action is necessary to ensure compliance in future”.

The State Governments and the Central Government and concerned SPCBs/PCCs should examine the aforesaid aspects and respond thereto within six weeks.

List these matters after seven weeks.